Yesterday was a tough one. I woke up to a message from a close friend saying she’d taken her teenage son to the emergency room after he had (accidentally) overdosed on something. They were worried about organ failure and brain damage and she was terrified. My blood went cold.
It’s going to be ok. I should let you know that from the start. Between kind and efficient doctors and nurses and the kid having a mom who hustles to make things happen when they need to happen, he’s going to be just fine. (though he may have a bruise on his ass when he’s well enough for me to kick it)
Something happened though, while we were waiting for him to wake up, that has been on my mind for a while. When I got there my friend poured her heart out to me. And because we were in the emergency room, the privacy wasn’t exactly top notch, so people could hear us. And then as her child was being moved, a man came up to us and asked if he could speak to us. I let me friend follow her child’s bed, and myself and her boyfriend stayed behind to listen to the man.
Honestly I was sure he was going to yell at us for saying fuck too loudly while in an emotional state, without considering the wellbeing of others, because obviously we are not the only people on the planet. Fair enough, dude, but rude. That’s not what he wanted though. He wanted to know if the child with us knew Jesus. Of course then my instinctual reaction was to feel very awkward, and a bit irritated, because hey, those Jesus folks are awkward and a bit irritating. He wanted to know if the child knew Jesus because he (the man) had come out of a life of drug abuse and thuggery (or something) and Jesus had saved him. I was worried he was going to try and pray for us because I knew that wouldn’t go down. Strange man praying for the sedated child. He didn’t though. He was just kind of sweet, and awkward. We thanked him and went on our way.
And then of course for the rest of the day I worried that the man might have felt embarrassed about approaching us, because being a highly empathetic person with an uncontrolled anxiety issue is just balls.
He did get me thinking though, and I even kind of wish I’d spoken to him for longer. Because the thing is, whether Gods exists or not, religion does have merit in these kinds of situations. While I played my role of just being there because I knew it would help in this particular situation with this particular friend, other folks do get comfort out of God being there. And that’s not really something that you can say doesn’t count. Feelings do count in these situations, because when those feelings are flying all over the place you do need something to hold onto. Like your long-suffering boyfriend and your slightly mad friend who makes inappropriate jokes and inappropriate times.
So who is your rock?
I don’t think the man was wrong in his suggestion that Jesus saved him from drugs. It can seem like such an absurd thing to say, but it was his reality and he felt he had a solution. I mean he’s a little awkward to have a conversation with these days (he’s old now – he was an abuser when he was young, he said) but also kind of sweet, nevermind brave, to try and make us feel better.
So I wish I’d spoken to him for longer. I wish I’d had the opportunity to ask him what do you mean when you say Jesus saved your life in a day? Because without scorn or judgement or any wishy-washy touchy feely stuff, I would actually like to understand. How do you switch from your autonomous self to being someone open to a higher power? How did you go from being hard to being so soft? How did you go from being as broken as you say you were to be open to “being fixed” by something that you cannot see or hear?
But there probably aren’t really any answers for that, I guess. I guess you either have the relationship with God that your religion affords you, or you don’t. There probably isn’t a way to learn or understand how it works. All you can do is see that maybe it does work for some people, even if you’re not sure that it’s something that will necessarily work for you.
The thing is though, that even though my own walk with God has been a bit derailed and gotten kind of blurry, the whole day yesterday I had church songs stuck in my head. Songs that I kind of drew comfort from as I hummed them, waiting for news, hoping for the best. In little ways, now and then, there is a small flicker of something that comes back.
Maybe that counts for something.